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Monday, April 29, 2013

Garage Sale'in it up

Over the weekend, I helped with a church garage sale. Most of my finds I bought early. Since I helped price throughout last week, I was able to claim things early. I only spend $10 total, which I think is pretty good for a garage sale, but I don't really know.

I only made this photo this big so you can read the date on the paper. Clear as day, it says 1960. On the back, it was used as a score sheet. I could be wrong, but I think this is a REALLY old set of dominos. I keep trying to get my dad to play Chickenfoot with me, but he won't. I think he knows I would win. 

Now, I have a hope chest filled with Pyrex and a set of dishes and a set of steak knives and various other kitcheny items. I found this super cute mini cutting board for only a quarter! The little silver cups were $0.50 each and I only bought them because they didn't have change and all I had was a $10 bill. The spoon, just as I thought when I bought it, is perfect for dishing out spaghetti. I don't know if it's real silver, but it's heavy! I also bought a cookbook, but that was just to hit $10 even.

I think this is the best find. At Christmas Magic last year, they sold for $20. There were four at the garage sale for 50 cents each. It's a grater. You great garlic or cheese on it and it keeps the juice with it so you don't lose flavor.

Now this little guy has an interesting story. 

He's a piggy (monkey?) bank. I had been eyeing it all week as I was helping prep for the sale. Everyone else was eyeing it too, but for a different reason than myself. I liked it. They didn't. They made a joke out of it. One of the ladies helping had been assigned to sell this. Her husband had to sell a tacky fur. Neither of them expected to sell their items. 

I decided that if at the end of the sale, if this monkey was still there, I would buy it. I had kind of wanted it, but not enough to spend 50 cents on it. I figured if it didn't sell, it was a sign that it was meant for me. 

I was telling that to my mom when a customer overheard me. He looked at the monkey, picked it up, and bought it. I laughed because I thought he was buying it just because I wanted it. I figured I wasn't meant to have it. 

But wait. 

Next thing I know, he handed it to me. I got my monkey and my mom told the story to everyone who walked in.

Now, I know this wasn't about London AT ALL, but if it helps make it fit in, I'll take my dominos to London and play Chickenfoot on the plane.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

All about HISTORY

I can't remember if I said anything about what class I'm taking in London, but if I haven't, it's WWII History. So obviously I quite enjoy history. In this post, I will talk about the top 7 historical places I want to see.

In honor of 70 days left:

7. Winston Churchill's Underground Bunkers

I will get to go to the bunkers as part of my class, so that's really exciting. I'll get to see more of them then I would otherwise.

I really like the bunkers for one reason only, other than the fact that they're historical.

The Doctor went there. He's met Winston Churchill several times and one time he went and encountered a Dalek. It was a great episode and now I'll get to go there and see the stuff! I doubt the Dalek will still be there, but one can hope.    

6. Benjamin Franklin's London House

Now, I didn't know that Ben Franklin ever lived in London, but apparently he did.

Tenish years ago, they found bodies under the house, so that's pretty cool.

They do historical reenactments there on the weekends, so it would be really neat to see.

5. London Zoo

I love zoos. I like monkeys, and lions, and tigers, and bears and more. I can't go somewhere with a zoo without going there. I went to the Central Park Zoo for only thirty minutes because I had to go!

4. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

What would be cooler than going to the Globe Theatre? While I'm there, Midsummer's Night Dream will be playing as well as Macbeth, but I'm already seeing Macbeth. I would love to see Midsummer's Night Dream at the Globe Theatre. 

It looks like 700 tickets are sold as standing for each show. In the photo, the standing tickets are where the people are standing. They're sold for £5 each. That's pretty cheap for live theatre. It's settled. I'm going.

3. Westminster Abbey

Beautiful! I'll be in London around the time Princess Kate is due to give birth, so why not go where she got married!

Parts of the Abbey are free to visit, but others you have to pay to see, so I might just take a picture of  the outside.

2. Cardiff Castle

The Doctor Who episodes "The Rebel Flesh" and it's buddy (it was a two parter) were filmed here. It's pretty cheap to visit and it's beautiful. It's right next to the Doctor Who Experience.

It was built in the late 11th century and had air-rade shelters installed during the war. It can hold 1800 people, apparently.

1. Highclere Castle

I've talked about this place quite a bit, but it's still my favorite historical place I'm visiting.

Though I won't be seeing the Egyptian exhibit, it's still fascinating. The 5th Earl was the sponsor of Thebes tombs in 1907 and also was a part of the team that discovered King Tut's tomb in 1922. A lot of the artifacts found are shown in the castle now.

Queen Elizabeth II visited often before she died and now I'm going to visit!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Planning a Trip

Patrica over at Allons-y and I got together a few nights ago to start planning. We met at 5:30, ate baked potatoes, then realized soon that our phones wouldn't get us enough info at the speed we wanted it, so we relocated to Hastings with our laptops.

Our tiny table at Hastings was covered by paper and computers. On my screen, I believe I am looking at a Metro sign. I was trying to figure out how to get from Paris to Manchester, I think.
Originally, we were going to go to Highclere Castle on the first day of the mini break and then hightail it to Paris that afternoon. That Saturday, we were going to rush to Manchester to see Alex Kingston in Macbeth.
We then realized, we would have more time in Paris if we went on a weekend. So we are! Now we will actually be able to see most everything I wanted to see, including Versailles! We'll also add something I forgot about, but Patricia reminded me about: The Moulin Rouge. Now, we won't see a show there because it's crazy expensive, but a picture outside is on the to-do list.

We decided that during the mini break, instead of just hanging in the dorms while everyone else travels, we will go to Cardiff. We were going to go over a weekend, but decided we might as well just do it during the break. See the Doctor Who Experience, the Cardiff Castle, and whatever else there is.

Manchester apparently has a china town that's really big. But other than that, it looks really boring. Since there is nothing to do there, it means sleeping in instead of waking up early to rush somewhere!

We also decided that we were going to try and go to Brighton. I don't really know why, other than it has a cool pier. It's just a day trip though, so no hotels to worry about.

We're also going to take a Doctor Who Walking Tour of London. The Cardiff tours don't run while we'll be there.

A Paris planning sheet
The top has walking times between several of the sights I want to see as well as openings and closings. Always go to the place that opens earliest as soon as it opens. Best travel tip I know. I tried then to make a loose schedule for the two days, but it really depends on where our hotel ends up being. The side is the costs of everything in Euros and then in dollars. It's a little higher than it should be because everything had a "concession" option that included under 25s. I thought that meant food, so I didn't use that price until I was looking today. Whoops. You can see tons of mark outs because I took the Louvre off of the list and added Musee D'Orsay. The lines are shorter and I like Van Gogh more than DaVinci.

The hardest part of all this planning is finding hotels. All the cheap ones are nearly full and I don't think we want to book this early in advance in case we change our minds. Plus, cheap in Paris doesn't necessarily mean cheap in America, so that is a problem too. I think I've have narrowed the hotel list down though, so I'll show my parents and see what they say. Hopefully by the time this actually posts, the hotel is picked.

We spend nearly four hours planning this. We were going to play my new Doctor Who card game I won on a Twitter contest, but we were too busy planning. It was sad.

My Doctor Who 'war' card game! I'm excited to play this in London!!
Now all we have left to do is decide what to see in London. I made my lists. It includes Buckingham Palace, The Science Museum, The History Museum, Westminster Abbey, and The London Zoo. I also want to fit in at least two plays.

Busy busy busy!

So, we met again LAST night to finalize Paris hotel details. I had found a hotel that I LOVED and I was ready to book, but Patricia convinced me to keep looking. I did, but I didn't really 'look.' I was going to say "I never found any. Let's just stay here at this one that I love."

Well, I found one that was better. My eyes skimmed across a list of hotels and I saw an American chain hotel name. I then saw that one of my old teachers had stayed there. After texting her and getting a recommendation, I looked further to see that it had FREE breakfast! Most you have to pay €10 to get breakfast added and this was FREE. Plus it has free wifi.

Needless to say, we booked there.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Paris? Don't Mind if I do

In honor of 80 days left:

The following list is the top 8 things I want to do in Paris. Now, having only two-three days (maybe even just 1), I know I won't finish the entire list. If I was going with my mom, yes, I would, as we jam pack as much into every day as possible. Going with friends, though? I'll probably be lucky to get half of this done.

Though, I will likely never go to Paris again, so maybe I will find a way to see it all. I'm good at planning schedules, so I could probably fit it all in! Though I doubt my friends like rushing everywhere like I do.

8. Eiffel Tower

I've already talked about the Eiffel Tower a TON, so I will just leave you with a pretty picture. I DID learn it's open until midnight though and it probably won't be crowded.

7. Dali Museum*

This might sounds weird, but I really think Salvador Dali is my favorite artist.

He is the first one I ever learnt about, so I have an attachment to him. I had to learn about him in my Spanish II class and then paint a surrealist picture inspired by his work.

I would really love going to the Dali Museum and seeing just how weird it is.

6. Versailles* 

I have loved Versailles ever since reading a book about a servant girl (fictional, of course) who worked there. Palaces have always enthralled me and this one is absolutely beautiful.

5. Notre Dame

This is really one of those places that I want to go only to say I've been. It's beautiful, but I don't have any reason to go there other than I want to.

Also, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a pretty great movie.

But really, the gothic architecture is probably my favorite type. The gargoyles and everything are just beautiful.

I don't want to go in though. I just want to take a picture of me outside of it.

4. Arc De Triomphe

So, honestly, I'm not really sure what the Arc De Triomphe is. I want to go though.

3. Louvre*

Okay, so I really dislike museums. In New York, we completely skipped the MOMA just because we didn't want to go.

That being said, I really want to go to the Louvre. I don't think it would be right to skip it. I think I can turn off my dislike of museums for an hour or two. Just long enough to see the big deal pieces of art, like the Mona Lisa.

2. Pantheon

I only knew this building existed because I was scouring the parispass website. I would never have wanted to go there otherwise.

Of course, being me, I researched the building after learning about it. Now I really want to go there for one big reason.

The crypts.

Now, I normally don't wander around people's graves, but in New York, I stumbled upon Alexander Hamilton's.

This crypt has within it's walls:

  • Voltaire
  • Rousseau
  • Victor Hugo 
  • Marat
  • Emile Zola
  • Jean Moulin
  • Soufflot 
  • Louis Braille
  • Marie Curie
I don't know who half of those people are, but Voltaire, Rousseau, VICTOR HUGO, Louis Braille, and Marie Curie are all people I've heard of.

1. Opera de Paris

I'm not a big opera person, but I like taking tours more than the average person should. If I can take a tour of a place, I'm in!

I can only imagine things you'd see on a tour of an old opera house. Maybe a phantom? It IS the same opera house that the Phantom of the Opera is set at.

Okay, so, I actually didn't know the above fact until literally five seconds ago. I googled the story and discovered it right in the midst of typing the second paragraph of this section. Now I have no choice but to go to Palais Garnier, the official name of the beautiful building in the above picture.

*Places I'm willing to give up if there is no time, though Versailles is still somewhere I really want to go.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Daniel Radcliffe :)

The Cripple of Inishmaan:
Set on the remote island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland, word arrives that a Hollywood film is being made on the neighboring island of Inishmore. The one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy, if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life. Martin McDonagh’s comic masterpiece examines an ordinary coming of age in extraordinary circumstances and confirms his position as one of the most original Irish voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century.

This play will be showing while I'm in London. Guess who is playing Billy?



I am going to this play. I hope. There are several plays/musicals I'd like to see and going to the half off ticket booth can only get you so far.

This play, though, I have to go to. If only for the stage door. Now, I've been to Broadway shows and I've heard it's the same in London, but after a play on Broadway, all of the actors come out the stage door and sign autographs and take pictures.

Like I said, I've heard it's the same in London. In "Our Boys," Matthew Lewis and Arthur Darvill signed autographs.

The play I want to see is going to be at the Noel Coward Theatre.

It's beautiful!! Noel Coward actually wrote Blithe Spirit which is playing at the local theatre downtown starting soon. What a coincidence!! I think that's a sign that I HAVE to go see The Cripple of Inishmaan.

I also keep getting confused by the euro. I see "stall seating £79" and I think "Woah! Only $80 for floor seating? I'm in!" But them I remember I have to double the price and I really don't think I want to pay $150 for floor seating.

Soon, I'll be getting confused by dollar signs though. I have a meeting in a few weeks for the trip that I'm really excited for and I keep seeing things online that make me want to be there now.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Top 9 Touristy Things

Well guys, 90 days to go. It's getting so close! After fighting with what to blog about, I have finally made a list of the rest of my ideas until leaving. This one will be the top 9 (for 90 days left) touristy things I am looking forward to doing. This list was hard to come up with because some of the most exciting things I will be doing aren't very touristy, like Highclere and Cardiff. I don't feel like those would be on "Top 100 Things to do in London" lists.

In no particular order, I give you

The top 9 touristy things I want to do while overseas

9. The London Eye

This is something I'll be doing almost as soon as I get there. I believe it's part of our London orientation. I'm sure I'll be nauseous when in it, but I won't let my minor fear of heights get to me. Just as long as it doesn't break and I have to climb down on a ladder...

I am mostly looking forward to the phenomenal pictures that I know I'll get on the London Eye. Regular ferris wheel pictures are great, so imagine them on THIS ferris wheel! You get thirty minutes on it, so that's plenty of time to see all of London. I wonder how many rotations that would be.

The London Eye is actually a year older than my youngest sister. She's 12, so it's 13. It's a teenager!

On New Year's, fireworks are fired from the wheel itself for ten minutes! Unfortunately, they don't celebrate the 4th of July anywhere else in the world, so there won't be fireworks for that.

8. West End

I don't know what show I'll see, but I know I'll see a show. I have a few that I want to see, but I'll probably only see one or two. I want to see Les Miserables, Spamalot, Book of Mormon and Wicked. I'll probably have to narrow down my list though.

I've already seen Wicked, but it's one I won't tire of, so I'd go see it again. I'll likely never get another opportunity to see Book of Mormon, so I hope I'll get to see that one there.

In reality though, I'd be happy seeing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (that's a joke because I've heard the London soundtrack...) I just want to see some theatre while I'm there. I'll definitely be sitting in the audience singing along to whatever I see.

7. Double Decker Bus

I don't really want to go on a double decker bus. I'll just say that first. Public buses scare me a little. I would like a tour in a double decker though. You know, the kind where everyone paid to be on it so you don't have to worry about pick pocketers?

Okay, I'm not really that scared of the bus. I want to go on it because in every movie or show involving London, there is a double decker bus.

6. Buckingham Palace

I am completely obsessed with the Royal Family. I don't know why, because I was never a princess person growing up. Everything about them fascinates me.

Apparently the Queen waved at my uncle when he was in London, so that just means I have to wave at her too. Maybe I can one up him and get Prince William and Princess Kate to wave at me.

You can't go into the palace if the Queen is home, which I think applies at the White House too.

I also love looking at beautiful buildings. Looking at old, antique furniture and buildings is one of my favorite things. I almost wish I could see the buildings in different time periods.

5. The tube

I am really good at reading maps. I learnt that in NYC. I am a pro at going from one place to another if it requires taking a subway. Hopefully my prior subway experience will show and keep me from looking like a lost tourist when I'm on the tube. I already know I'll stick out like a sore thumb what with me accent and clothes and camera. The last thing I need is to get lost on the tube.

I just love knowing that I walked underground at this place and in a half hour, I will emerge across the city without having seen outside zooming past. It's such a weird thought.

4. King's Cross Station

I'm sure going here is a tad overrated and has a long line, but I have to. Being a Potterhead since 1st grade, I feel like I'd fail the fandom if I didn't take my picture there.

Since I'm so good with subways, I could easily get to King's Cross for a picture.

It's probably lame, but I wouldn't be surprised if I cry when I get to Platform 9 3/4.

Don't judge.

3. Abbey Road

I'll admit, I've never been a huge Beatles fan. I'm one of the "their music is good, but I'm not in love with them" fans.

I saw The Dakota in NYC, so I almost feel obligated to see Abbey Road. I do realllllly want my picture there, though. Mainly because it would be super cool, not because The Beatles were my favorite band ever.

I have heard though, that it's a bit dangerous to take the iconic picture. Apparently there are no traffic stops there and it's a pretty busy road.

2. Eiffel Tower (in Paris)

During our mini-break, I'm pretty sure I'm going to Paris. Whoo hoo!!

I desperately want to see the Eiffel Tower. I want to take one of those cliche pictures trying to push it over and then I want another cliche photo of picture trying to push it over for their own cliche photo.

Seeing something that's been standing for over 100 years is an incredible feeling. I feel like I'm standing in history.

The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid for monument in the world and I'll gladly add to that with my visit.

1. Stonehenge 

Honestly, I don't want to see Stonehenge because it's famous for being Stonehenge. I want to see it because it is where the Pandorica is hidden. It's where The Doctor and Amy and Rory saved the world.

Also, it's pretty much the default background picture on most computers. Wouldn't it be something to take a photo from the exact same angle and make it my background? Then I could tell people it's my photo and not the default. It sounded cooler in my head.

So, after writing this, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of these places, I really just want to visit to say I've been there. That's what I like about traveling. Getting to go somewhere that not a lot of people get to see. That's part of how I decide what to see. I honestly think I'm more excited about seeing Winston Churchill's Underground Bunkers than I am about seeing Buckingham Palace just because it feels like something most people don't see.

Well, toodleloo,